Omicron Surge Hampering

Fight Against Drink Drivers


iStock 11640678161Breath tests create a high risk of infection spread. PHOTO: ISTOCK15 JAN - The recent pandemic restart with the surge of Covid-19 Omicron variant is hampering the fight against alcohol on the roads of Europe.

This was manifested by the results of ROADPOL's latest pan-European “Alcohol & Drugs” operation which took place from 6th to 12th December 2021. Due to the recent viral escalation only about 50% of the member countries took part in the operation, a rare activity drop.


In most cases the control of the use of alcohol or drugs is performed by taking a breath test and by taking a saliva test. In case NL Henk Roadpol PortretHenk Jansenof a positive result, an extensive  breath test or a blood sample must sometimes be taken (which differs per country). “During these investigative acts, it is impossible for a police officer to keep 1.5 meters away from a driver. In all forms of breathalyzer tests, the driver involved must blow his breath through a device, after which the breath with possibly contaminated aerosols leaves the device and swirls around. Due to the high risk of infection, the police have limited alcohol and drug checks”, ROADPOL Operational Working Group Secretary Henk Jansen of the police in the Netherlands explains. “That is why in most cases the police do not carry out non-selective checks in which many drivers are randomly checked in a short period of time. Instead, only drivers showing suspicious driving behaviour are checked”, Jansen adds.


According to the reports of the 15 participating countries 428.616 drivers were checked throughout Europe during the control week. Of these 9.887 drivers were under the influence of alcohol and 2.165 under the influence of drugs. It is not possible to indicate in which country the violation percentage was the highest, because the way of checking differs too much.

ROADPOL's next “Alcohol and Drugs” operation is scheduled for May 2022. An Alcohol & Drugs Marathon (24 hour non-stop checks) will also be held then. The next ROADPOL pan-European control week will take place from 7-13 February 2022 with the focus on trucks and buses.